Doris Garland of the Indianola Route 65 Grannies, reaches upward to shoot a high-arching shot over the Redbird defense during a game Saturday in Indianola.

At about 8 p.m. Thursday, April 26, 2018, Cheryl Ebert was heating up some food when her doorbell rang. 

Buzz, buzz, buzz. 

She answered the door. No one was there. It was unusual, she thought. She closed the door and went back inside.

Buzz, buzz, buzz. 

It rang again. Again, no one was there. 

This time Ebert decided to go outside. It was twilight, and it was hard to see. But, when Ebert looked up at the roof of her home at 1514 W. Euclid Ave., in Indianola, she thought she saw smoke coming out of the roof. 

"My house is on fire," she said to herself, even though she didn't really believe it. 

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.

Fast forward almost a year, and this time that buzzing noise is coming from the scoreboard at the Indianola High School gym, where two unlikely rivals are meeting for a game of basketball.

No, this battle isn't about to be fought by a couple of groups of strapping high schoolers or even college athletes.

Rather, this game is about to be played by women who are all over the age of 50. They call themselves the Grannies.

The Carlisle Redbirds and the Route 65 Motorcycle Grannies of Indianola just finished their warmups. It's 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2019. And it's game time.

Instead of the exciting jump ball some basketball games begin with, this six-on-six style game forbids physical contact and starts with a simple pass.

A few quick moves by the Carlisle Redbirds mean they take an early lead. The scoreboard buzzer sounds. A timeout is called by the Indianola team.

"They're tall," the Indianola grannies remark from their huddle near the sidelines. But these grannies take the game with good spirit and they're out on the court again.

The motorcycle grannies put up a good fight, but with four minutes left in the second period, they're down 36-19. They can't stop the Redbirds from scoring a few more points before the half.

The score is 42-22 and the clock on the scoreboard is counting down 3, 2, 1 when all of the sudden there's another buzz.

Buzz, buzz, buzz.

Cheryl Ebert is calling 911. Her house is on fire, she tells the operator.

She gathers her animals and gets her husband outside.

Ebert watches as the firetrucks arrive and firefighters cut a hole into the roof of her home to vent the fire. She watches as they drag heavy, dirty fire houses over the carpet she had installed just two weeks earlier.

She watches as the firemen move quickly to put out the blaze.

The fire, which started because of an electrical issue in the attic, was put out that evening.

The fire caused enough damage that the Eberts had to find somewhere else to sleep that night, but Cheryl remembers thinking the fire hadn't hurt anything that couldn't be easily replaced.

The Eberts gathered a few things from their home and locked their front door on their way out.

Cheryl would hear more sirens – the sirens from Indianola fire trucks – again at 7 o'clock the following morning, but she didn't think much of the wailing sound.

Buzz, buzz, buzz.

Half-time is over and the Indianola Grannies are fired up after a 9-minute break.

They've got a game to finish. And they've got money to raise.

The Indianola Motorcycle Grannies, in their knee-high Harley-Davidson orange socks (they're sponsored by Route 65 Harley-Davidson in Indianola) get back out on the court.

They make a bit of a comeback by the end of the third period, but they can't hold off those tall Redbirds. The score is 62-31 at the end of the third, and the game ends with 78-46 on that scoreboard.

The game is over. And that scoreboard sounds again.

Buzz, buzz, buzz.

Where are those sirens going? Ebert wonders. 

She'd find out later. When she returned to her home. Where the door to her home had been kicked in by firefighters after Ebert's neighbors noticed the home that had been on fire the night before had begun smoking again.

While the Ebert's home was still standing, the second fire nearly gutted the inside of the home.

"It added insult to injury," Ebert said.

While she said her family has cried about their loss over the last year, they know it could have been much worse.

"God rang our doorbell that night," she said. "It's our faith that has kept us strong." 

Ebert said she's thankful the Grannies remembered her family a year after the fire. They money they raised Saturday went to help her family.

Paula Schultz, the current captain of the Indianola Grannies, said she was happy to help the Eberts.

"We're here to have fun and to support people," Schultz said. "And to have a healthy life and to find friendship."

The Eberts are getting ready to move back into their home soon. Cheryl said she and her husband and their two foster children are hoping they'll be out of the rental home they've been staying and living at home by April or May. 

She said all everything that survived the fire is in storage units, so she's not sure if the family will need help with anything moving forward.

She says now the fire has been a "humbling" experience and that she's thankful for many people in Indianola who have helped her family.

"It has been great to have all of this community support," she said. 

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